Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Osama bin Laden OP...Leadership and the Long-View

About a week ago we got the news that I didn't think we would see...a successful effort against our #1 threat...Osama bin Laden It was going on over 10 years since September 11, 2001 and the scars from that fateful day are still long and raw...But there is a lesson in this successful operation for public and private sector organizations. That is taking the long-view...

In many organizations we are so tied to the here and now and achieving short-term results and generating immediate self-gratification that strategy or long-view activities are really not a factor in discussions. Like you...I have seen it time and time again. That is why the Osama bin Ladin operation is so important from a leadership lesson in achieving long-term success of an organization.

Soon after the events of September 11th, our primary goal became to bring Bin Ladin to justice. While much has occurred in the intervening days that were both short-term wins and setbacks, we continued to focus on that long-term goal. Resources and planning were dedicated to this one goal that would represent a culmination of a nation's need to bring closure. Through three different presidencies...this has never waivered.

A leader must consistently balance the need for short-term results with planning and preparing for events that provide long-term success of the organization. My perception is that we sometimes forget this...whether Wall Street or 4-year Presidential terms...people that can envision and enable a long-term strategy are worth their weight in gold...even at today's prices. These people need to be identified and put in positions to use their skills to enable organizational success...not this instant...but at a point in the future.

Look around your organization and think of the numbers of people that operate as tactical, day-to-day task oriented people and the numbers in the organization that can truly develop a vision and long-term strategy for organizational success. There are PLENTY of the first and FEW of the latter. The few that you have are probably not being utilized for the strength they bring to the organization and if your leadership falls into the "PLENTY" category...unlikely that they will see it or value it. That has to change...

Take this lesson from the bin Laden OP and take a different perspective in your will be amazed at what results you will achieve.


J. Keith Dunbar is a Fearless Transformational Global Leader...Creator of Talent, Leadership Capability, and Culture Change…He can be found connecting and sharing knowledge on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Twitter: JKeithDunbar
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The opinions or views expressed here are mine alone and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or the Defense Intelligence Agency.


  1. Keith, you hit this one out of the park. Well said.

  2. Hi Sandi...

    Thanks for the comment and words of encouragement...means a lot.


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